Steady Drive Bluegrass Band lands at the Boykin

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When Kevin Lamm walks onto a stage, he thinks to himself, “I can’t believe I’m doing this.”

“If someone had told me 10 years ago that I would be in a band and play festivals, I wouldn’t have believed them,” said Lamm, the upright bass player for the Steady Drive Bluegrass Band.

Lamm and his bandmates will perform as part of the Arts Council of Wilson’s Boykin Series 21 on Friday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. on the Boykin Center stage.

Steady Drive includes Lamm, who is one of the owners of Parker’s Barbecue; Joe Pessolano of Johnston County on mandolin; Wayne Melvin of Nash County on guitar; and Lee Flood, also from Nash County, on banjo. The band performs traditional bluegrass and bluegrass gospel music, as well as a few original songs.

The band members met while attending informal jam sessions at the County Line Bluegrass Barn in Wilson. When Lamm first starting going there, he didn’t even play an instrument but soon picked up the upright bass.

In the fall of 2014, the four friends were attending a bluegrass festival when it started raining.

“We got in the camper and just started playing,” said Lamm. “It felt right, and we said we should start a band. So we did. It just clicked for us, and we said, ‘Well, let’s see where it goes.’”

Fast forward just a few months later, to the spring of 2015. Steady Drive played as a group for only the second or third time at the Got To Be NC bluegrass competition at the fairgrounds in Raleigh. Five bands competed, and Steady Drive won. 

“That really opened up a door for us,” Lamm said. “Part of the prize was to be the opening band at another festival. After that, we started getting bookings.”

Steady Drive recently performed in Nashville, Tennessee, as part of the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America’s National Convention & Band Championship.

“We went out as a showcase band, which involves playing in a room set up for several bands to play in over two or three days,” Lamm said. “We hope this leads to booking for other festivals, but we also enjoyed ourselves as observers, going to music stores and hearing other bands.”

The April 27 concert will not be the first time the band has played on the Boykin Center stage. Steady Drive performed there in the spring of 2016, which was the group’s first time on a Wilson stage.

“We still talk about how fun the first concert was,” Lamm said. “It’s definitely a different feel than playing at an outdoor festival. The lighting, everything is different … and it’s just fun.”

And Lamm says not a day goes by at Parker’s Barbecue that at least one customer says he’s looking forward to the April 27 concert.

“Every day, someone will say to me, ‘We’ve had our tickets for four or five months, and we can’t wait,’” Lamm said.

Lamm loves sharing his love of bluegrass music with crowds all around the South.

“It’s such a good feeling to play for folks,” Lamm said. “Whether you’re playing in Virginia or Georgia, people are just the same, and you know you’re going to have a good time. We have a good, clean, fun time.”

All concert tickets are $20 and can be purchased at wilsonarts.com under the Performing Arts tab, at the Edna Boykin Cultural Center Box Office or at 252-291-4329.